Even putting Jeter aside, the Yankees for years had several players who could have been possibilities for this selection. But with the Core Four long gone the best pick at this time a year ago might have been Alex Rodriguez (yes, really), as he was the team’s longest tenured player and fresh off his milestone-collecting, image-rehabilitating rebound from a year-long PED suspension. But after his late-season retirement and the team's sudden shift toward a youth movement, the nod might have gone to rookie catcher Gary Sanchez, whose late-season flurry of home runs illustrated the value of turning the page. Then a triceps injury sent Sanchez to the sidelines early this season, and rookie Aaron Judge took the league by storm with his own binge of homers—smashing 13 in 25 games—that landed him on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated as he helped lead the Yankees to the best record in baseball.
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